tv Rock Center With Brian Williams NBC March 14, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
captions paid for by nbc-universal television tonight here on "rock center," it's not surprising to 3 f1 hear the british prime minister talking about war in afghanistan. >> we went in together, we would teenage visitors to this country who were supposed to be kept safe by adults. >> reporter: students from abroad, looking to experience america.
instead, they were placed in predators' homes. >> he touched places he shouldn't have touched. >> reporter: placed there by organizations. >> the sponsoring agencies make a lot of money for each of those kids. >> reporter: and critics say our government wasn't watching. >> what does it say about the united states that this government agency allows this to go on? >> reporter: tonight -- ms. jones, kate snow with nbc news. an investigation, how could this happen? and willie geist visits the upright citizens for gays. the gritty, i amprov group that stayed true to their roots. they're comedians looking for fame and fortune. so they come here, a place where they need lots of courage. >> did you ever walk out on stage and go, oh, my gosh, there are three people here right now? >> reporter: what's the secret to the underground comedy group that's creating so many stars?
>> when you walk in, it feels really special. >> don't cry. >> okay. >> oh, you got her to cry. >> guys, keep rolling. >> that and more tonight as "rock center" gets under way. good evening, and welcome to "rock center." tonight at the white house, a long evening is wrapping up after a long day. tonight, the president and first lady threw a state dinner for the british prime minister, david cameron, who comes here at a very serious moment, and it all got discussed earlier today from the economy to iran to afghanistan. it's all part of what they always call the special relationship between the two countries. and between these two men. in this case, the american democrat and the british conservative. and just before mr. cameron flew here, we went to him for a visit
with the man at number 10 downing street. if one half of the special relationship is the american president in the white house, routinely referred to as the leader of the free world, then this is the other. number 10 downing street in london. in this very old place, echoing with history, he is a very young and energetic man. that much is clear right away. >> welcome. >> thank you very much for having us, prime minister. >> good to have you here at number 10. >> reporter: cameron is positively an action figure when compared to some of his crustier, fusstier and elder predecessors. in a way, he was born into this, a wealthy family full of barrons and bar onnettes, a fifth cousin of the queen. like harry, he went to even and then oxford. and like the president, hosting him tonight at the white house,
he is a smart young family man. cameron and his wife, samantha, have three children, having lost a son. ivan was born with a combination of epilepsy and cerebral palsy that he couldn't survive. and the awful loss three years ago humanized cameron as a politician. >> so this is the staircase where all the different prime ministers have their pictures. >> reporter: once inside number 10, the staircase immediately forces you to look up to former british leaders, if you didn't already. >> so there is the great man. >> there is the great man. without him, complete the sentence. >> without him, in a world without churchill, the nazis would have won in europe, and would have taken over the home of europe. and the world would be a very different place. i think the british history has got some amazing things we have done over the years. but that single moment in 1940 is probably the brightest moment in britain's long history. >> reporter: of the modern era leaders, cameron speaks of a special closeness with one of them. >> margaret thatcher.
i came here as a school boy when she was prime minister. i never thought for a minute i would come back here. and it was a great honor for me to come and welcome her here as a former prime minister. which i did and she was able to relive some of her moments. >> reporter: after a tour of the cabinet room, including the chair from which churchill stood up to the nazis 70 years ago, as we go to sit down, it's clear cameron is anxious to return to the topic of his friend and fellow conservative, margaret thatcher. specifically his deep regret that she had to see herself depicted as an old and frail woman in the twilight of dementia, as portrayed in one of the year's most acclaimed films. >> i need you briefly to turn no a film critic. "iron lady." >> it's a great film. it's a brilliant piece of acting, particularly by meryl streep. of. >> with all due respect, sir, i have done battle every single
day of my life. >> my only regret is that it's really a film about someone who is aging. it's a film about the aging process and getting older. and i just felt a little sad as a great fan and friend and supporter of margaret thatcher's that it had to happen now. so admiration for what meryl streep did, and the film. but sadness about the timing. >> "the king's speech." >> brilliant. absolutely. it's a remarkable -- again, i think we've had some amazing pieces of acting in some of these historical films. and, again, colin firth is an extraordinary, talented actor. >> i have the king -- >> you would have to admit, he is one -- during this time of austerity, perhaps you could amortize your leading exports. it seems to me colin firth, kate
middleton, adele -- >> helen carter. we've got some stars. >> you do. and you can't be in this structure and not think of "love actually." ♪ jump for my love jump in and feel my touch ♪ >> i promise i haven't run and danced here. >> hugh grant seemed to have more fun than you're having. of course, he was a young, single prime minister. >> remarkable. i live in a flat next door and i can sing and dance if i like in there. but not here. >> there is a great speech, hugh grant playing your role and billy bob thorton playing the visiting american president in which they talk about the special relationship and how it covers all manner of sin. >> covers all manner of sins, doesn't it? i fear this has become a bad relationship. a relationship based on the president taking exactly what he wants, and casually ignoring all
those things that really matter to britain. >> and the truth is, it hasn't always been that special. is it special now? is this a good time for the special relationship? >> i believe it is. but i would take issue. i think it has been very special over the last few decades. obviously, it's had highlights, where the reagan and thatcher or -- pick out those highlights. the real nature of it is not just that the individuals have tried to get on and have a good relationship, as i have with president obama. the real nature of the special relationship is the fact that we share the same interests. >> but not always. cameron, whose wife was in new york on 9/11, gave a speech in '06, criticizing the iraq war, in which he said democracy cannot quickly be imposed from the outside. liberty grows from the ground. it cannot be dropped from the air by an unmanned drone.
and not unlike the plot of the movie, the real-life cameron has privately tell graphed the fact that on some issues there will be some more issues between the u.s. and the u.k., which was not the case a few years back. >> you concede, prime minister blair may never recover from that label that was attached to him. someone used the word poodle to describe his relationship with president bush as the march to war continued. you don't get to pick the american president who you serve with. the american president doesn't get to pick the british prime minister. ideally, the relationship works. and world events go along. >> the british people want their prime minister to mean something and work with others on the world stage and get things done. so i don't buy the theory that the british people somehow want their prime minister to be standoffish with the americans. yes, they want you to stand up
for what matters for your country, if you have differences and you have disagreements. air them, discuss them. that's exactly what barack and i would do. but people don't want you to just be standoffish. they want this relationship to be living, breathing and close. >> how often do you and the president speak, and what do you call each other? >> we call each other by our first names. we talk probably, you know, once a fortnight, once every three weeks. but it depends on how many issues there are that we really need to get to grips with. and right now there's a lot to talk about in terms of what's happening in syria and issues around iran. how we make sure we get this transition in afghanistan right. what i like is that i think because we have these shared interests, because we approach issues in a fairly similar way, we're both, i hope, quite rational, quite reasonable, sensible human beings. we have a very, very easy relationship. >> is there a feeling with you and the american president that you meet at a time of crisis for
the joint mission in afghanistan? it could not be more fraught, it could not be more tense and you have a lot on the line. >> these are going to be very difficult days. but in spite of the difficulties, i'm absolutely convinced that we are doing the right thing, that we have a good plan, that we're transitioning over to afghan control, we're building up an afghan army and police force that will be capable of making sure that that country is no longer a terrorist threat to the rest of the world. we have to stick to the plan. and britain and america, we know through our history, that sometimes you have to take difficult decisions. you have to make difficult sacrifices in order to secure your own countries and in order to make sure the world is a safer place. this -- what we're doing in afghanistan, britain and america together, we're the two largest troop parameters, much larger than britain. we're doing the right thing, doing it together. and we went in together, we must go out together. >> there is much more from our interview, including the prime
minister's strong views on the possibility of war with iran. it's on our website tonight, rockcenternbc.com. and later in this broadcast, by the way, more on the gifts the two men and their families exchanged today. up next here tonight, not many people know it by name, but it has given us some of the biggest names in the comedy business. tonight, willie geist takes us inside the comedy laboratory called "the up right citizens' brigade," where amy poehler is among the proud parents. >> the upright citizens brigade has been described assault active, absurdist, collaborative, smart and weird. >> well, that's nice. those five words aren't bad. >> i didn't pick them. er thre one tte af le oibrr es on >> i was going to say. ♪ ♪ our machines help identify early stages of cancer and it's something that we're extremely proud of. you see someone who is saved because of this technology you know that the things that you do in your life, matter. if i did have an opportunity
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the veterans say the best way is to always say yes to what your participant says. keep the bit going by going with it. and that ethos is what has sustained the upright citizens' bringing brigade, one of the best tickets in new york, while supplying this nation with badly needed and insanely talented young comedians. willie geist went to visit the folks who are so good at what they do, it's hard to believe they're just making it up. big american comedy is born inside this small, gritty theater in new york's east village. >> the orgy is still on for tonight. >> an edgy improv troup taking center stage. you may not recognize the faces, but its influence is everywhere you look. on tv. >> are you guys ready to hear from the did you knowder if i have lynn business experts? >> online. >> you don't have to raise your voice. >> and at the movies. >> i don't know what to get her. she's going to be 88.
>> get her a coffin. >> the doctor said that several times last night. >> but really, you're just a dentist. >> i can give people their first hit of crack in terms of improv. >> we want to be known as comedy drug pushers. >> matt walsh and amy poehler. yes, that amy poehler. they got the ucb up and rolling in chicago in the mid '90s along with friends matt besser and ian roberts. >> look at the screen, you dumb monkeys. >> they were a group with a unique style. their skits runs of outlandish improv that pushed the limits of comedy and sanity. >> this is my friend, bleached costco. >> it's been described assault active, absurdist, collaborative, smart and weird. what makes it different than other improv? >> that's nice. those five words aren't bad. >> i picked them. there were a ton of terrible ones. >> struggling in a town
dominated by the second city, poehler and the rest of the ucb floor decided if they were going to make it, they were going to have to head to new york and start improvising. their stage was often the streets, where they filmed themselves pulling public pranks, like this one where santa tries to sell booze outside a toy store. >> would you like a shot? >> not everyone was in on the jokes. >> they would not lock up santa claus. >> yeah, i think they would. >> we wandered the streets with a mega phone and we got a lot of weirdos and very small audiences. >> did you ever walk out on stage and go oh, my gosh, there are three people here right now? >> oh, yeah. >> yeah. >> we would tell our parents to go back to their hotel and then we would tell the weird guy -- >> the creepy guy. >> from the park to go home. >> they continued playing regular, free shows for anybody who would watch, hoping to be discovered. >> it was very tape -- the word hbo on it, we would be waiting r tthfoo arrive. >> hbo executives didn't come.
but in 1998, comedy central saw something unique. they gave besser, walsh, roberts and poehler their dream of a tv show called, what else, "a bright citizens' brigade." it lasted three seasons and remains a cult favorite. >> i'm not even here. >> what was that? >> that was just enough success for the group to finally afford a club of its own. though, it did come with a checkered past. >> we found a strip -- or a burlesque club -- not technically a strip club. >> classier. >> a little classier, mixed with comedy and probably some monologues. >> the idea that once you took over that theater, there were still some sketchy old guys who would wander in, looking for something else besides long form improv? >> tighten up the belt on their raincoat and tip their hat and say good day.
>> at gcb's popularity soared, the core group began to feel bigger fame. >> they offered you james bond. >> they called me and even fleming was still alive, and was like walsh, you're bond. we have a show, it's $5 a person. there's 13 reservations. i don't know if i can get away. so i passed. >> okay, so maybe james bond didn't call. but for poehler, lorne michaels did. poehler's eight seasons on "saturday night live" made her one of comedy's biggest names. >> hello. i want to play the drums! >> today she has her own show. "parks & rec." >> please, i beg of you, will you shut your beautiful pie hole. >> she wasn't the only to break out, though. performers like rob corddry, donald glover, horairborne owe sands, found their way into the writers of the daily show. "late night with jimmy fallon" and "ellen."
the rest of the core stayed true to their comic roots, dropping in occasionally on shows to keep an eye on the future. >> it's a place where you can go for a very little amount of money and see someone who five years from now will be a big star. like, the stars of tomorrow. >> perhaps someone like shashir zumata. she is one of the 30,000 people who have taken classes from the upright citizens brigade. the group runs teaching centers and theatres in new york and los angeles. >> she took the stage at the recent opening of a second theater in new york. comedy is tough. i don't have to tell you that. for every amy poehler, there are a thousand people struggling to make it in the club. >> oh, definitely. >> do you have an idea in your head, if i don't make it, so to speak, by age x, maybe i'm going to law school or something? >> my step mom actually asked me
that a while ago. yeah. >> she told me to ask you again. >> oh, god. can you tell her to stop calling? >> from these small classrooms and stages, the ucb influence has spread to the biggest screens in comedy. >> i'm ron burgundy, and this is what is happening in your world. >> the movie "anchorman" was directed by adam mckay who says the spirit is captured in this fight scene. >> no, i did not see that coming! >> with its fingerprint now all over american comedy, the ucb is indeed a long way from those early days of begging people to come in and see a show for free. >> this is home for all of you guys. >> it's like the clubhouse. and when you walk in, it feels really special. >> don't cry. >> don't cry, amy. >> this is not that kind of interview. >> okay. >> the classic interview. oh no. you got her to cry. >> guys, keep rolling. >> it's a community of people. home is where the heart is. home is where the heart is. >> you're a horrible actress.
>> thank you. i like you to think that. and i did. >> you just called amy poehler a horrible actress. >> she agreed. >> i suppose -- i'm sitting here thinking, i suppose their danger is expanding the brand too much like a franchise. yet at the same time, and i'm not acting as their chamber of commerce, as you know, especially on sunday nights, you can pay your ticket -- it's like a secret. you can see jack mcbrayer and amy and horation sands. >> the reach has gone so far into so many shows we're familiar with now, the family is so large they come back to the theatres. and that's the point amy made in the piece where she said you can pay five bucks, come no a theater, laugh, see new talent but maybe will ferrell shows up. in fact, shashir that night shared the stage ever so briefly with her hero, amy poehler. >> wow. did you have fun? >> it's a blast. it's a good place to be. and they think about the expansion thing.
they're only in new york and l.a. they don't want to become arby's. >> nothing wrong with arby's. willie's piece, you saw the snippet of one of the popular classes they hold at the upright citizens brigade. you can see more of the class on our website, rockcenternbc.com. we have a lot more to come here on "rock center" this evening. when we come back, kate snow with a special investigation into what happens to some students from overseas who came here to study and learn and grow. >> the state department, through their mismanagement of the program, they essentially are looking the other way. they're in denial about how much tr of it actually goes on. [ male announcer ] there's always something new on applebee's 2 for $20 menu. over there, that's mike. we call him the comeback kid. 'cause he and his buddies they're always coming back to applebee's. [ male announcer ] right now, it's the jazzed up flavors of bourbon street. get one appetizer and two entrees for just 20 bucks like our totally inspired bourbon street chicken & shrimp loaded with cajun flavor on a sizzling skillet or our tender new blackened chicken penne. we
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including new grain-free blue freedom™. at petsmart®. if you have raised a teenager, you know parents of teenagers face a tough balancing act. how do you help your child learn about the world, but still keep them safe? that's the promise behind foreign exchange programs, in which families in other countries host young students and teach them about their culture while keeping an eye on
then. thousands of overseas students come here to the u.s. each year and stay with host parents in every state in our country. for most kids -- in fact, for the overwhelming majority, it's an amazing experience. and it's positively life-changing. but a "rock center" investigation has uncovered deep problems of abuse and oversight within the program. kate snow reports tonight on a disturbing case of culture shock. >> geeon from belgium had big dreams of spending his senior year in high school in america. in 2003, he was one of the 25,000 foreign exchange students who come to the u.s. every year. >> i wanted to go and to learn about this other culture and see how it works other places. >> yeah. you wanted to immerse yourself in american culture. >> yeah, exactly. >> he was hoping to go to a big city, like new york or los angeles. instead he found himself here in rural arkansas in unthinkable
circumstances. assigned to live in this trailer with a host father who turned out to be a sexual predator. geeon's parents had paid more than $10,000 for their son's year abroad to a belgian agency which made the arrangements with an american organization called educational resource development trust, erdt, one of more than 80 nonprofit groups regulated by the u.s. state department. >> i want to learn english. >> it's sold as the experience of a lifetime in ads like these on the internet. >> i wanted to play football, i wanted to meet american teenagers. >> not only enrich the life -- >> in it a state department video, secretary clinton says youth exchange programs are an integral part of u.s. diplomacy. >> the goodwill, generosity and mutual understanding fostered through exchange programs are critical to meeting the challenges of today's world. >> most students have a positive experience in the foreign
exchange program. but sometimes even in a program with lofty goals, bad things can happen. a "rock center" investigation found dozens of cases where host parents were convicted of sexually abusing students. even worse, when abuse did occur, it was often mishandled by the organizations involved. jessica vaughan is director of policy studies at the research organization, center for immigration studies. she has been examining youth exchange programs for years. >> so many kids, more than you would think, have really suffered. they have suffered horrible trauma. they have suffered abuse. they have been mistreated. >> i said to myself, well, you're here now. you just have to accommodate yourself. >> the living conditions in the trailer were just the beginning. almost immediately, 18-year-old geeon discovered the exchange program was his host father, doyle meyer's hunting ground.
>> he would hug me. he would ask me to lay on his chest when he was watching tv, like come next to him and just come and lay on my chest. >> did he say that was normal? that was something people do? >> yeah. >> in the united states? >> of course, he would tell me that this is something that son and father do. because he was always calling me son. >> on a trip to washington, d.c. with erdt students and coordinators, things escalated. geeon says doyle orangedarranged for the two of them to share a bed and began to massage his back. >> and then i was moving and tried to get away and i turned around and he started to do it also on my chest and started to go down and down. >> he says the massage had become sexual molestation. >> were you scared? >> well, i was lost. i didn't know what was going on, what -- i didn't realize what had happened either. >> this is your host father.
>> yeah, it is my host father. >> when geeon tried to report the incident to a local erdt coordinator, he says he was shocked to see doyle sitting in on the meeting. >> so i couldn't say anything i wanted. >> wait. so you're trying -- you want to tell someone. >> yeah. >> but they have doyle sitting right there next to you. >> yeah. but they were best friends. >> doyle didn't get kicked out of the program. geeon did, for breaking the rules, he said, driving a car and smoke marijuana. back home in belgium, ashamed and shunned by his own family for being kicked out, he finally found the courage to write an e-mail to erdt, detailing what happened to him and other students too. after receiving that e-mail, erdt did not go to the police. instead, an executive, kelly jones, asked her staff to send her anything positive about doyle meyer. she later wrote in an e-mail, doyle should know that we, erdt, went to a lot of work, time and energy to clear his name and
support his good reputation. jones went on to disparage the student, saying geeon may rear his ugly head again. doyle was temporarily barred from being a host father, but the next school year, yet another student would become a victim. >> did you know that there had been any problems at all with doyle? >> i didn't know about any problems at all. >> when 16-year-old chris herbin from germany moved in with doyle meyer in 2005, he says doyle began molesting him right away. >> he said this is american culture, and i should get used to it. >> chris says doyle drugged him. he spent his days in fear. not knowing what to do. >> i was very afraid that he would send me home, because my parents would be very disappointed. >> so you let him do things that you now can see were things you didn't really want to do. >> yes. i can say he touched places he shouldn't have touched. >> and there were even more victims. when one of them reported the
abuse to a local erdt coordinator, she went to the police. doyle meyer was arrested, pleaded guilty to first degree sexual assault, and served four years of a six-year sentence. >> doyle, can you speak with us? >> doyle meyer declined requests by nbc news for an interview, saying his parole was almost up and he wanted to move on with his life. in a statement to nbc news, erdt's lawyers said it never engaged in a cover-up of any sort. it was the conduct of erdt, which led to the arrest of mr. meyer. geeon, chris and two other exchange students abused by doyle filed a civil suit against erdt in 2009. their attorneys, irwin zalkin and andrea levity, say their young clients are victims of a problem that comes down to supply and demand. there are more students who want to come to the u.s. than the number of host families who volunteer. leading some organizations to cut corners.
and they say there's a financial incentive involved. >> the sponsoring agencies make a lot of money for each of these kids. and they're motivated to get them into some house, somewhere, without the proper vetting. so it's a perfect storm. it's sort of abuse waiting to happen. >> host families are not paid, but the bigger organizations pull in millions of dollars a year. >> charged with abusing two -- >> so it doesn't happen often. a sexual predator can take advantage of the system. our "rock center" investigation uncovered more than 60 cases of alleged sexual abuse or harassment over the last decade involving 14 different organizations across the country. among them, a 15-year-old taiwanese girl rate of speed raped by her host father. a 16-year-old spanish girl molested by her host father, a pastor in minnesota. a german exchange student whose
host father is in jail in oregon for repeatedly abusing him. >> when the state department allows this to happen, they are undermining their own public diplomacy goals. because what does it say about the united states that this government agency allows this to go on? >> when we come back, kate will seek answers from the state department, and she'll do the very same thing with an executive of the organization that placed teenagers in that arkansas trailer home. >> ms. jones? hi, it's kate snow with nbc news. i wonder if you would answer a olen ec fer w questions. i'm here at walmart with tiffany who drives around town looking for low prices. that burns a lot of gas. yep. want to see if this walmart low price guarantee can help you out with that? ok! every week they lower thousands of prices and check over 30,000 competitor prices. check out that low price. you want to grab one? grab two. what happens if she does find a lower advertised price somewhere else? i'll match it right here. so what did you learn today? every dollar counts and now i get to bring more home to my family. [ male announcer ] that's the walmart low price guarantee! see for yourself
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welcome back. foreign exchange programs really gain steam in this country during the 1960s to help people from different cultures learn more about each other. and most of the time, they succeeded brilliantly and in many cases lifetime friendships are formed. but parents who send a teenager to another country rely on the hosts' good intentions, and they assume a certain amount of oversight will take place from
the people running the program. our investigation has sadly found that in too many cases, both are missing when young and vulnerable students come to america. as kate snow continues her report now, she goes to those in charge, looking for some answers. >> ms. jones? hi, it's kate snow with nbc news. >> this is kelly jones, an executive at erdt, an organization placing high school foreign exchange students in american homes. >> i wanted to know if you would answer a few questions. in 2005, one of her organization's host fathers, doyle meyer, was jailed for sexually abusing foreign exchange students in this trailer in arkansas. after she declined repeated requests for a sit-down interview, we caught up with her at her home in california. >> there have been some serious charges made, i think you know that. >> i think we gave those answers.
>> geeon of bellgium and kres of germany are two students who sued erdt. the organization settled for an undisclosed amount, but did in the admit liability. in a deposition, jones said there were policies in place to ensure student safety. but when asked specifically, what did erdt do to protect the students from being victimized, she answered -- >> nothing. >> how about in 2004? >> nothing. >> how about in 2005? before the arrests? >> lack of foundation. calls for speculation. >> nothing. >> i have seen how it works. and to be honest about it, to me, it's -- it's like a big scam. >> chris says, based on his experience with erdt, he thinks the organization cared more about bringing in revenue than finding good host parents for students. >> they will take anyone. it doesn't matter. they will take anyone. >> jessica vaughan, who has studied exchange programs for years, agrees. >> many of the people who claim to be all about peace, love and
understanding are really just trying to make a buck and don't care anything about the quality of the experience for these kids. the state department, through their mostly sunny management misprath of the program are looking the other way, in denial about how much of it actually goes on. >> what is the consequence for any organization in which there has been sexual abuse? what consequences do they face from the state department? >> well, we have a number of things that we can do. >> tory nuland is the state department spokesperson who oversees erdt and more than 80 other foreign high school exchange organizations. >> the strongest measure we can take, obviously, is to terminate the company's ability to sponsor children all together. >> erdt still functions, erdt is still operational, they're still bringing students over from overseas. if what you've said is true, why are they still operating? >> erdt was one of the organizations that worked with us to strengthen these regulations, and they have been complying, as we have strengthened the regulations
with the improved standards, which is why we have kept them on our roles. they themselves were horrified and victimized by this situation. >> what did erdt do -- >> erdt is not the only group with problems. our investigation found 14 organizations organizations where students alleged being sexually abused or harassed by a host parent. several of the organizations have also faced lawsuits for placing students in harm's way. >> we found dozens of cases of alleged sexual abuse or harassment. how does that happen? >> well, first let me say, from the state department's point of view, the secretary of state's point of view, even one child abused under these programs is one child too many. so that's why we are strengthening the checks on the front end, staying with the kids so intensely during the program. but i have to tell you, kate, that the vast majority of these
kids have an enormously gratifying, rich, fantastic american experience that lasts with them for a lifetime. >> nuland says when secretary of state hillary clinton first took office in 2009, she had heard there were problems in the high school foreign exchange program. she asked the department's inspector general to investigate. his scathing report found insufficient oversight of the youth exchange programs at all levels. it said communication among staff borders on unprofessional. there's a lack of human and financial resources at the state department. and an erroneous assumption that the exchange organizations monitor themselves. as a result, the department increased staff, overseeing the program, dropped a number of organizations, and implemented new regulations meant to more thoroughly check out host families. >> we do training for the staff, we work with them on implementing the regulations. we insist they document now these home visits, these background checks.
>> and if something goes wrong with the program, how is that supposed to be reported? >> before they come, their families receive a whole package of information about their rights. but also about what they should do if it they encounter any problems in the united states or problems with the host family. >> they never mentioned sexual abuse. never. >> but this mother says she and her son had no training about sexual abuse before he left for america. just this past christmas, he called home to say he had been sexually molested by his host father in rural montana. they agreed to speak with us if we didn't show the son's face or use their last name. >> i talked to the -- we presented to the coordinator and asked her, what do you suggest us to do? and she said, it's up to you. >> did she mention going to the police? >> no. >> did she mention filing a police department? >> not at all. >> and i feel like they should have treated him like it's her
own son, you know? he's far away from me. i don't have any influence. i'm foreign, i don't know your laws. and i was really kind of helpless sitting in germany and not knowing what to do. >> after flying her son home to germany on her own dime, they have now come all the way back to the u.s. to file a proper police report with no support, she says, from the organization that placed her son ise. ise issued a statement to "rock center" saying it rigorously screens all prospective host families, trains all staff, and reported the incident to montana child and family services, as mandated by state law. the host father did not respond to our requests for comment. police in montana are investigating. >> i think that's not the way an exchange organization should treat their students. >> we're talking to a student who was placed in montana, and just over christmas says he was abused. is filing a police report.
there is an investigation going on now. and his mother is really upset, because she says the local person wasn't trained, didn't know what to do. >> assuming the case is as you explain it, it's absolutely unacceptable and it's one that needs to be looked into by us and we will do that. >> are there more reforms needed to make sure that no child is put in harm's way? >> well, as i said, our standard has to be zero tolerance. so to the degree to which we still have cases reported, we are not there yet. are the reforms that we have put in place sufficient? i think we need to launch that over the next couple of months and see where it goes. but we are absolutely committed to continuing to tighten these regulations and improve this program until we get to zero. >> kate, we probably can't overstate by how much this is a minority of all the kids who go into this program. >> yeah, we're saying, again -- in fact, we got figures today from the state department. they only just recently started keeping track of this. but they say for last school year, it was less than 1% of all
the students who came whoever, 25,000 students who came over, less than 1% reported sexual harassment the or abuse. and while thankfully there are resources for parents who are concerned, and we linked them to our website, what's gotten better? >> you heard the state department say there they have made changes. and they have. they have made significant changes over the past couple of years. they're really watching this now, brian. background checks are required by law. they have been required since 2005. critics will tell you, there's still no way of knowing if that's happening, because there are 60 people at the state department, which is an increase in staff, by the way, that hillary clinton put in place. watching 25,000 kids and host families. so it is -- it is difficult, but they're trying. >> thanks. as always, for your reporting. kate snow. we'll be right back with a small business owner who recently received a very unexpected phone call. >> so i'm sitting at my desk, phone rings. says united states government on it.
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british prime minister cameron is the guest of honor at the white house tonight. and during such visits, it's customary to exchange gifts, something that represents your country. president obama's gift to the last prime minister, gordon brown, didn't go well. it was a boxed set of american dvds, none of which played on british dvd equipment. that only put more pressure on the gift this time around. and so the obama administration called the manure you're about to meet will tell us the story of engelbrecht barbecue grills of packston, illinois and the role this company now plays in american diplomacy. >> people wouldn't realize in a town of 4,000 surrounded by corn came the gift given by the president to the prime minister. i'm chris engelbrecht. i run engelbrecht grills and
cookers. the big project we're working on right now is a grill that the president of the united states will be giving to the prime minister of the u.k. here are the friendship flags, american and british. it looks nice. we'll need to mount it, drill the holes. and then we need to work on riveting the indescription plaque. i'm sitting at my desk, the phone rings, united states government on it. i'm thinking, this might not be good. it's the state department asking if we would like to build a grill. there's a part of me going, yeah, not buying it. and then they followed up with an e-mail. and they said how they found us, they googled us. and why did they pick a grill? they said the british prime minister and obama had a get-together in london and had a bit of a bonding over grilling. >> it was also probably the first time in history as we stood behind that barbecue that i can say a british prime minister has given an american
president a bit of a grilling. so i'm going to hold on to that. >> start off with a grill thing, it really did start as a hobby. never thought that it would progress into a business. one of the big things is how the rack goes up and down. we were building wood fire grills before it was a thing. that thing has gone overseas, coping our idea. there was thoughts of throwing in the chips. but then we went back to the art of metal working. kept progressing to pretty much where we're at now. this entire grill is hand-made right here in the united states. still came from here, brass came from here. aluminum, the stainless, the whole bit came from the states. i think it's a great gift. i think this is a perfect american gift. i actually think we should move it up more. we built it very well. it's going to last for years. their grandkids will be cooking on the thing in 50 years.
>> special thanks to chris engelbrecht and his staff of one and the folks known as "the gift team" at the state department's office of the chief of protocol. that is our broadcast for tonight. coming up next week here on "rock center," it's not just a tv show. it's a window to a long-gone american lifestyle, and as you might have heard, "mad men" is returning to the air after a layoff of almost a year-and-a-half. and they have allowed us behind the scenes to learn how they lovingly recreate the booze-filled, smoke-filled '60s. >> these are herbal cigarettes, filters cut off. how they can smoke them and look like they're enjoying them is beyond me. because they're disgusting. >> it's good and bad. don't miss that next week. that's it for this week. a stubborn storm lingers over the bay area. and the next storm is already on its way. good evening, everyone.